Is Oracle cloud only for Oracle?

Several days ago, discussing public cloud solutions and competition between different providers, one of the people mentioned that Oracle Cloud is just for Oracle products. At the same time, AWS and Azure are more vendor agnostic. I was a bit surprised by that statement but it appeared that several other people shared the same view. I decided to write the blog and show what options Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) has for different workloads.

Let’s start with the VM types and flavors. Of course, by default, you are offered Oracle Linux but if you push the “Change Image Source” button:

You are going to see several different options for the platform, including Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, Centos, and various Windows server versions.

Those are the primary platform images for VM, but in addition, you have Oracle built images with different sets of software included, free and with Bring Your Own License (BYOL) policies.

Then we have the partner’s images on the next tab, and there we can find some other Linux distributions like SUSE and prebuilt software images like Jenkins from Bitnami.

If you need to build your own image with custom software and settings, you can create a custom image from your Linux or Windows-based VM, which may be an on-premises or cloud image. In my opinion, this should cover most of the requirements for the necessary VM infrastructure services. I am not discussing other aspects like network and storage here since they are not too much different in functionality presented by other cloud vendors.

If you haven’t found what you need or want some certified software deployment, you can go to the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and choose from multiple available packages, including Oracle and non-Oracle vendors.

We have several filters for the publisher, category, type, and price but no free search area. I hope the search option will be added there.

Here is a subset of publishers.

All the images from the Marketplace are certified by Oracle and prepared for deployment using Oracle Resource Manager (RM). The RM itself is using HashiCorp Terraform scripts behind the scenes. Terraform is one of the most popular deployment tools in the community, and, in my opinion, it is better than a proprietary solution. You can adopt a unified approach for a multi-cloud environment without locking yourself to a single vendor’s platform.

If you work with Docker and Kubernetes and want to build and deploy your custom microservices architecture, the Oracle Cloud Developer services are here to help. The Oracle registry is for your Docker images, and Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE) for the Kubernetes cluster is here to help you to deploy the applications.

So far, we were talking about native OCI tools and resources but it doesn’t end there. With the Oracle and Microsoft partnership in the cloud, we can expand our footprint and combine both clouds. I was testing it in July 2019 and wrote a blog about it. It was quite easy to set it up, and it showed acceptable performance. At that time, it was available only in the US Virginia region, but now it is available in Canada and the UK , and hopefully other areas soon. It opens new possibilities to incorporate your company strategy and place products to the most suitable cloud environment. For example, if you want to build an MS SQL database solution, you have two choices – use Azure with interconnect link to OCI or deploy a Windows server in OCI and put your database there.

So, is Oracle Cloud only for Oracle products? Of course not. Oracle public cloud offerings on infrastructure are pretty much comparable to any other public cloud providers and offer a flexible environment to deploy your application and, if you want, your preferred database solution as well.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure multi-factor authentication

For some time we didn’t have a multi-factor authentication in the Oracle cloud and those short-lived numeric codes were one of the best way to reinforce your protection and prevent a bad actor to break your credentials. It is not 100% protection but it is well better than a username and a password. Just recently I read in the Oracle Infrastructure cloud blog about new native multi-factor authentication for Identity and Access Management (IAM) system on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Of course, I went directly to my account and started to test it.

I found that it was extremely easy and intuitive. I clicked on “user settings” in the drop down menu for my profile.

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And there I saw the new button “Enable Multi-Factor Authentication”.

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When I clicked the button a new pop-up window with a QR-Code appeared. To use it you need to install Oracle Authenticator to your mobile phone. I tried with the Google Authenticator but it didn’t work for me.

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After scanning the bar-code the Oracle Authenticator automatically added the new record with a name like <tenancy_name – user_name> and provided a number you need to put to the form. After that, the user was registered for the multi-factor authentication and the new form was appearing after putting username and password.

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It worked without any problems and gave me more assurance and protection working with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

A couple of things worth to mention. The new native multi-factor authentication works only for OCI users and doesn’t work for federated and SSO users. And the second thing is to be careful trying other non-oracle mobile authenticators. When I tried the Google one it allowed me to enable the authentication but I was not able to log in after that. Luckily your administrator can disable the feature and you can try it again with correct authenticator software.